And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
Acts 8:36 (ESV)
I debated for years… I had been baptized as an infant in the Lutheran Church- which would lovingly raise me for the entirety of my childhood.
Consequently I had also been through confirmation at 13.
In conclusion I had given my life to Christ. I even had documentation.
But as I began moving towards pursuing a career in full time ministry, the internal nudge to get baptized grew.
Let me clarify that this was not because I believed I needed to be baptized to be saved. Jesus saved me the moment I asked him into my heart. Being baptized was not a way to “level up.”
Also, it was not because I felt my Lutheran baptism and upbringing had failed me in any way. On the contrary, I grew up strong in my faith, I had fantastic Godparents and it was that faith community that planted in me the seeds which would eventually bring me back to God after enduring a dark period.
The dark period.
What nudged me, personally, to be baptized was the dark period. While I knew I was saved, that my baptism hadn’t been “nullified” in any way… it occurred to me that I had fallen away from faith for a period of time.
I had never stopped believing in God or Jesus- but we certainly were not on speaking terms for a good two years.
God would knock and I would develop selective hearing.
As I moved out of that dark period and began to feel the call back towards my first love and pursuit, Ministry- every time I went to step out on the water, I hesitated.
This hesitation kept me in the boat for two additional years, and then in 2017 I finally made the jump, as God opened the doors that led me to being enrolled into a Masters in Ministry program. I say I jumped, I think He may of helped with a bit of a push.
Unfortunately, the doubts didn’t stop once I stepped out onto the water. There was one reoccurring thought that I offered to God every night, a question that waged war inside of me-
God I failed you, when things got hard, I ran. I fell and I fell hard. How can you really be calling me now? Can You really be calling me now? I’m not good at this, I’ve proven I’m not good at this…
It wasn’t that I needed further assurance in God, I needed assurance in myself.
Peter encountered this. He had ran. And I believe he struggled internally with this, even with Jesus’ forgiveness after His resurrection.
So Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him. By the third time I can imagine Peter’s despair, he already doubted his own worth and now it may seem Jesus questioned it too. However, as Peter confirmed his love for the Lord, Jesus did not say “Oh, good just checking,” Jesus told Peter to feed and care for his sheep.
Jesus was putting Peter in charge. The man who ran away had a calling– Care for the sheep, because more dark days are coming, but no darkness can compete with the glory that will follow.
Peter vocally confessed his faith to the Lord and the other disciples who were present (including the self proclaimed, “one whom Jesus loved” John… Side Note: I love reading John 💁🏻♀️).
The point- Peter made a public declaration in front of other believers. So God put it in my heart. Do you love me? Yes Lord.
And I decided, that like Peter, I had to declare it- publicly in front of other believers. Not necessarily to the benefit of God- but because I needed assurance that I was officially shedding the days of running. God already believed in me. I needed confirmation in my own heart.
When I was originally baptized and confirmed I had not yet experienced how dark this world could be.
I knew now. This time when I made my declaration, I knew exactly what I was getting into. For as Pete and Jesus continued their conversation Jesus stated:
“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” John 21:18
Why? Verse 19 tells us-
“Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “‘Follow me!’” John 21:19
Pete knew dark days. Jesus clarified that more dark days were coming.
And Jesus clarified that He knew Pete could handle the coming dark days. Pete’s running days were done.
So as the Ethiopian exclaimed in the verse at the top, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” I asked myself what is stopping me from being baptized?
In revelation- I knew nothing good was keeping me from making my public declaration. No, that was the work of fear and self-consciousness- of what others would think… or say…
As I was preparing to take the next step- (still hesitating but decidedly hesitating) God sent the people He knew I would need to support me in my journey to the pool.
While he sent several absolutely necessary individuals, there is one pictured in the photo below to my left.
Her name is Averie and two years ago we stood in a baptismal pool as I “took the plunge” and she helped me up (ironically by pushing me down- under water).
Today she is in Africa with a team of amazing individuals (from what I hear) on an 11 month mission trip. She is almost 3 months in- and I miss her terribly… but I am also incredibly proud of her.
I’ve included a link to her blog below.
1. So you can offer her and her team prayers as they continue their journey and embrace Matthew 28:19. What gift she afforded me in standing beside me as I was baptized two years ago, she is now giving to others in nations I can barely pronounce. My heart is full.
2. So you read her crazy stories, see her teammates and of course check out the pictures- they are stunning.
3. And so, if you are able, help sponsor her mission and the movement of Kingdom business as she and her team leave behind the comfort of home with feet covered in the readiness given by the gospel of peace. The widow threw in 2 copper coins- and we remember her today because God can take a little and change the world- in fact it’s His favorite thing. $5 dollars can go further than you ever dared imagine.
As always all of my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Please feel free to message me or comment below.
For those of you who may be considering being baptized, or re-baptized, I implore you to pray about the decision and speak with a(the) faith mentor(s) in your life. Let God direct your heart, laying aside all other concerns aside from His thought on the matter. His is the voice to follow.
I was given a certificate and photo from my baptism- which I had framed and it now hangs in my “office.”
I have 6 degrees, a handful of rewards and professional certifications- and I would trade them all for this one. For added all together they are but dust in comparison to living water.
Thank you mrjn Photography on Unsplash for photo!